Gardai investigates new claims that Ian Bailey met Sophie Toscan du Plantier prior to her murder

Gardai has new information to show that self-admitted suspect Ian Bailey knew Sophie Toscan du Plantier prior to her murder – and may have reportedly dined with her.

The new Garda statement, taken by detectives in recent weeks, claims Mr Bailey admitted he was acquainted with Ms Toscan du Plantier, but reportedly said: “I don’t want the police to find out.”

A major re-examination of all facts and disputes in the case is looking at the area, with progress on claimed encounters between the couple and other locations related to Cape Clear Island, off the coast of southwest Cork.

The re-examination is said to have seen “marked” developments in several areas with progress on several fronts.

Meanwhile, Ms Toscan du Plantier’s ex-boyfriend Bruno Carbonnet, who lives in France, is being pointed at the claim that he and the slain French filmmaker had dinner at home, Mr Bailly with his ex. -Shared with partner Jules Thomas.

Mr Carbonette, who had previously been removed as a suspect by Gardai, declined to comment. Irish independent This week on the specific claim that he ate in the company of Mr. Bailey and Ms. Toscan du Plantier.

he told Irish independent: “As you know, I have not made any (public) remarks regarding this criminal case.”

Mr Carbonnet did not address possible Garda or French police contacts with him – but he has long established his innocence through an iron cover and official data.

He was indisputably in Paris on the night of December 22, 1996, at the time of the brutal murder at Tourmore, near Shul, in West Cork.

It has long been Mr Bailey’s claim that he never knew the victim prior to her brutal murder in December 1996, although he allows that he may have once glimpsed her through a kitchen window.

The French woman’s former neighbor, Alfie Lyon, made a grim statement alleging that Mr Bailey and Ms Toscan du Plantier had met. He publicly stated in a 2003 libel trial that he was “90 pc sure”, introduced Mr. Bailey and the murder victim. Mr. Lyons has died.

His partner, Shirley Lyon, told the court at the time: “I don’t think you can identify anyone from that kitchen window. It’s quite unclear. The sink is in front of the window.”

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Ian Bailey. Photo: Mark Condren

Meanwhile, Gardai gets an account of a celebration on Cape Clear in 1995. In one, a witness said he identified Mr Bailey, whom he knew, in an alleged conversation with a white woman, whom the witness later identified to the media as Ms Toscan du Plantier. report of his murder.

There is also a different account of an alleged meeting with the victim on a ferry from Baltimore to Cape Clear.

Mr Bailey is alleged to have previously told others – including Yvonne Ungerer, Ann Kahlane and Helen Callanen, who all gave Garda statements – that he knew Ms Toscan du Plantier. He refutes these interpretations.

It is also claimed that she was seen by witnesses on Shull’s Main Street, where Ms Toscan du Plantier was, on Saturday, December 21, 1996. Her battered body was found the next morning on the driveway of her holiday home.

The counterclaim is of mistaken identity.

Mr Bailey has always insisted he is innocent of the crime, while his lawyer in absentia called the 2019 French trial “a farce”, which convicted him of murder and sentenced him to 25 years in prison. Irish courts have refused to extradite him to France.

Meanwhile, key witnesses in West Cork are being administered the oath of secrecy amid growing signs of a Garda re-investigation that continues to gain momentum.

Locals are now agitating for action on Ireland’s most infamous unsolved murder, Taoiseach Michael Martin has invited to a “concert for Sophie” to be held in Shool next month.

Mr. Martin is unable to attend due to a prior commitment.

In a statement made in February 1997, two months after the murder, local man Bill Fuller told Gardai: “I want to make one more thing that I think is important.” What he says next is denied in court by Mr. Bailey.

“About three weeks after the murder, I was at Jules Thomas’ house in Cork on the Prairie, Shool. This was before the arrest of Ian Bailey. Jules Thomas and Ian Bailey were there. Ian Bailey wearing a ladies skirt I asked her why she was wearing a woman’s skirt. She said it was to help her relax.”

Locals are now agitating for action on the infamous unsolved murder

Mr Fuller continued: “Ian Bailey spoke about the French woman killed and her French lover … (and) said that the French woman and her French lover (Bruno Carbonat) two years ago (1995) of the night. Were at their house to eat. “It was the Saturday before Ian Bailey’s (40th) birthday,” which fell on Monday, January 27, 1997.

Mr. Fuller has made a new, succinct statement to Gardai in recent months.

Again, Mr Bailey vehemently denies these claims, and has said under oath that no such conversation ever took place, while – like Ms. Thomas – that a chef at Shull, Mr. Fuller’s separate claims are completely are false.

Yet Mr. Fuller said Irish independent that he had “always told the truth” and would do so at any future occasion.

Meanwhile, what called for special help in the investigation is the fact that in December 1996, Schul’s telephone exchange, remarkably for the time, was upgraded to digital. “It had the facility to provide detailed billing information,” according to a statement from Gardai.

This has allowed the investigation of claims by witnesses that they allegedly received phone calls from the homes of persons of interest in the period following the murder and sometimes in the years after. The investigation continues.

Mr Bailey this week complained to En Garda Ciochana that he had come under verbal abuse from a man present at the Shule market last Sunday.

He told his “friends, fans and followers” on social media: “I am just sending a message that I will not tolerate abuse.”

an attempt was made by Irish independent To contact Mr. Bailey and Ms. Thomas.